Every month, I check my Employees Provident Fund (EPF) online through KWSP (Kewangan Simpanan Pekerja) web site at www.kwsp.gov.my. EPF serves as my retirement fund which can be withdrawn at the age of 55 – either through lump sum withdrawal or staggered payments monthly. From 11%, I am now contributing 50% of my basic income to EPF which was paid by cheques. You can sign up for the web site above to check your savings for the year as it accummulates month by month. Also you can check if the money has been deposited into your account already.
Sometimes, the web site may be down at the beginning of the month as they are updating the millions of accounts and this is just temporary. After that, you can then login without any problems to see your money grows. Last year, EPF gave out 4.5% interests rates which is above the banks’ interests rates of 2.5%. The good thing about EPF is that it promises to give out at least 2.5% returns of the members’ contribution. So you can choose to contribute more like in my case to earn more from EPF and get better returns by signing up a form at the EPF counter.
I normally go for safe money instruments and invest in safe assets as there is too much at stake to invest in the stocks. Since I don’t have the time to continually check the stock market, it is better to have a peace of mind to put most of my money in government bonds and in fixed deposits despite the less returns. There are some people making hundreds of thousand of dollars through the stock market, but these individuals constantly read company reports and know the formula to tabulate the intrinsic value of the company so that they know when to sell and when to hold on for higher gains. I have read the a book and know some knowledge about it – but prefer to stay away from the stock market which is very volatile.
Hence, by putting more money into my EPF account, this is a better bet and a safer one – giving me peace of mind that I will not lose the money overnight, unlike stocks and shares, but grow it gradually. In my opinion, EPF is your old age retirement fund which should not be used to buy unit trusts which is very volatile and high financial costs at 5.5% payment just to buy the units. In fact, EPF should be untouched for maximum returns at retirement.